From an early age, bilingual Nicaraguan singer-songwriter Leysha knew what she wanted to do with her life. The revelation of wanting to devote herself to music was as evident then as it is now, at the age of 25.
Without questioning herself, the artist did what she had to do to make it happen.
As a Brooklyn native, Leysha immersed herself in all things music — from singing in her church choir to countless singing auditions, including trying out “American Idol” and “The Voice.”
But these efforts were collective. Leysha had the full support of her parents, especially her mother, who accompanied her everywhere.
To get a full look at her story as an emerging multi-genre artist, we spoke to Leysha over the phone. During the in-depth conversation, she told us about the importance of visiting her roots, her gratitude to her mother who has always been supportive of her music career, and what she is currently working on.
Here’s what the “Disillusion” singer had to tell us.
The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness.
What inspires your music?
My mother and father are both from Nicaragua. They immigrated [to the United States], and they got me here. I grew up listening to Selena and many Spanish speaking artists like Camila, Aventura and Rocío Dúrcal.
Growing up in New York, I [also] had that Brooklyn R&B influence. I grew up listening to a lot of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.
How does being from an immigrant family help shape you as a person and as an artist?
Since I was younger, I have visited Nicaragua to visit my family. Being from New York, you always see the difference in cultures and you see the difference in the way people live.
My mother and my father really come from nothing. Nicaragua is a third world country. I was visiting my aunts, uncles and grandmother in Managua. That’s where my dad is from. The floor of their house literally looked like dirt when I was younger, but they had such a sense of community, just a sense of family. And everyone was so tight.
My mother is from Bluefields. My grandmother had a house by a river, so I always played. And like I said, we had a different sense of community. I would be at my neighbor in Bluefields, and they also have children, and their parents would also treat us like we were their children.
But being here in New York was completely different. You just heard about so many crazy things happening in the United States. I just got that sense of family orientation, more in Nicaragua than in New York.
Tell us about your relationship with your mother.
I remember coming to see her one day and saying, “I want to be a singer. I want to perform. And she said, “sing for me.” At first I was a bit shy. I was like, “turn around. I don’t want you to look at me. She said, ‘If you want to sing, you have to sing, don’t be afraid. You have to sing. And if you want to do it, I I’ll support you. So, I sang for her. And ever since, she was right on board with everything.
She would take me to open-mic nights, masterclasses, and singing lessons. She took me to every audition, whether it was in Brooklyn, Manhattan or even North Carolina. My father would drive us. She was always very involved, it was my dream and I wanted to pursue a career in music.
You have such a soft and soothing voice. Tell us about your latest single, “Disillusion”. How was the process?
I just released “Disillusion”, which I wrote in November. I posted it on SoundCloud. It’s not done, actually, but I took it out like this [my fans] may have something else to listen to. I plan to have it on my next project, but it will be completely different.
This song stemmed from a relationship I had been in for about six months. You can be with someone, and it can feel so perfect at first – like that honeymoon phase – and it can feel so amazing. You can look at someone and only see parts of them that they don’t even see in themselves. And then, after a while, you start to realize that the person you probably fell in love with never even existed, or that the situation isn’t what you thought it was. It was like an illusion.
What can you tell us about your next EP? It’s for when ?
I just write nonstop. I want it out in the fall. I’m still finalizing this. I may have a little Spanglish on some songs. I want to make music that everyone can listen to. I want to do things that everyone can enjoy. what you can [also] wait for me is an acoustic album, an acoustic EP, from my old songs.
Any advice for Latinas who want to get into the music industry?
Never be afraid to stick to your roots. Be confident and trust that people can hear the emotion you radiate from your singing. People can hear the emotion that comes from your craft, that comes from your art.